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Airtel spends over Rs 69,000 million to enhance network infrastructure

Bharti Airtel on Monday said that it had incurred a capital expenditure of Rs 69,968 million for the quarter ended March 2020 mainly to enhance its voice quality, indoor coverage and data capacities. The company in its quarterly and year-end report highlighted its mobile services segment that accounted for Rs 129,529 million revenues in the quarter ended March 2020. Airtel said that the mobile services grew 21.8% as the segment posted a revenue of Rs 106,322 million in the previous year quarter ended March 2019. The company said that the mobile services posted a sequential increase of 16% with the increased 4G customer base and improved tariffs tipped to be the contributing factors.

Bharti Airtel Expands Coverage of Mobile Services

The network infrastructure of the company has also seen a steady increase on an yearly basis with Airtel highlighting that it had 194,409 network towers for the quarter ended March 2020. In the previous year quarter ended March 2019, the company had 181,079 network towers. Airtel said that 192,068 mobile towers off the 194,409 are capable of handling mobile broadband.

Additionally, the company also registered an increase in the number of base stations under its radar with Airtel reporting 503,883 mobile broadband stations for the quarter ended March 2020. In the previous year quarter ended March 2019, the company had 417,613 mobile broadband base stations and 473,859 mobile broadband stations for the quarter ended December 2019.

The company said that its mobile services covered 95.4% of the population for the period ended March 2020 as compared to 95.3% that it registered for most of 2019.

Similarly, Airtel said that its network presence stretches across 7,907 census towns across India for the period ended March 2020 as compared 7,906 census towns that it registered for most of 2019.

The company launched its 4G and 2G services in 26 villages of Ladakh earlier in the year as part of its Project Leap.

“Airtel is the first operator to bring high-speed mobile broadband to these villages and connect them to the digital superhighway,” Airtel said in its quarterly and year ended report on Monday.

The company said that its Airtel WiFi Calling crossed five million users in March 2020 with Airtel highlighting that the service had “one of the fastest uptakes of new technology in India.”

“The new technology has dramatically improved indoor network experience for Airtel mobile customers through seamless coverage,” Airtel said.

Airtel also highlighted its Nokia deal that the company renewed in late April that is said to further “boost its network capacity and customer experience.”

The company said that its overall capital expenditure in India and South Asia touched Rs 207,748 million for the year ended March 2020. For the year ended March 2019, the company posted overall capital expenditure of Rs 243,051 million.

“We continue to invest in our network in terms of capacity and new geographical coverage along with significant investment in data centres, home broadband and other lines of business,” Airtel said. “The investments were to strengthen our network to provide world class experience to our customers.”

Bharti Airtel Expands Mobile Services Customer Base

The increase in network infrastructure paved the way for Airtel to add more customers and cope up with the increased network usage that the company witnessed in the quarter ended March 2020.

Airtel highlighted that it has continued to re-farm its 3G spectrum for 4G services to serve the needs of its customers. The company reported an addition of 10.1 million customers in the quarter ended March 2020 while its overall 4G customer base is said to be at 136.3 million. Airtel said that the increase in customer base coupled with the increase in data bundle has resulted in “exponential data traffic growth” of 74.2% on a year-over-year (YoY) basis. The average data usage per customer is said to have grown 35.5% YoY to 14.6 GB as compared to 10.8 GB in the previous year quarter.

The voice traffic is also said to have grown 12.4% YoY to 822 billion minutes during the quarter ended March 2020 as compared to 731 billion minutes in the previous year quarter.

“To serve the evolving needs of millions of customers in the rapidly digitizing economy, Airtel continued to re-farm its 3G spectrum for 4G and modernize it for increasing 4G coverage and capacities thereby providing its customers with an industry leading network experience,” Airtel said.

—Telecom Talk

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